Resonator gap? I’m curious, please explain. I bought a used recording king RK 35 that the resonator had been modified on to make the flange sit deeper into the resonator. The original owner said that he thought that it would make it sound better with less gap. He told me that afterwards, he discovered that he was wrong. That it actually lowered the volume on the banjo. I have thought about trying to make my own Raejusters to change it back to original depth. The banjo sounds good, but I know that it can sound better. Is this why you were asking which resonator gap people prefer? Thank you sir for your response.
Larry, Back in the dark ages of my banjo career, I took and recorded a lot of aperture (the distance between the rim and resonator) measurements and recorded them....somewhere.... I'm in the middle of my nightly rum ration but, tomorrow, I will see if I can find them and try to remember what I found out.
One of the things I, vaguely, remember is that the gap isn't as important as the size & shape (spherical, parabolic, or flat) and whether or not the resonator walls are slanted. I'll post something tomorrow when I'm a little more lucid.
I regained consciousness around 5:30 this morning. I've fed my cats and my pet pig Pumba so they aren't screaming at me. I looked for my notes from all the testing and measuring of resonators but I couldn't find them.
I found that the apertures on different banjos were all over the place from between 1/4" and 3/4" and the spacing didn't really make all that much difference in the shape & sound of the notes coming from different banjos.
Low end note attack & overall tone balance seemed, to my ears, to be better on flatter, shallower, tapered wall resonators on banjos with standard Gibson style flanges that allow for plenty of air movement.
Deeper resonators tended to be too boomy and un-focused. The best thing I ever did for my Korean Fender FB-58 was to get rid of the original too-deep resonator and replace it with an RK-80 resonator which shares the dimension & shape characteristics of a standard Gibson Mastertone resonator.
I have three similar older conversions. One has always been harder for me to hear while playing and seemed to have less volume. It required a different right hand position than the others for best tone. I have continued to play with it because I like the looks and feel and our lead singer said it was his preference. In measuring things last week, I discovered this particular old resonator was about 1/4" or so deeper (taller sidewalls). I notched a place for each L bracket, lowered the neck cutout enough to clear, and matched the height to my favorite sounding banjo. That small change was dramatic to my ear. The banjo became loud and a little shrill to me. I have loosened the head twice so far, finding my desired tone. Right hand position seems like my others and volume at least as good. One of the smallest changes with the biggest differences I recall .
I have been experimenting and looking into this lately as well. I have almost 3/4 inch due to radius of back and flange flush to top of resonator. When placing on another resonator with 1/2 inch depth rim to bottom of resonator it made a change for the better not as hollow sounding. I don't believe unless it is extreme it makes a large difference as other setup items. I have found it effects head tension with larger gap / aperture it appears head tension sounds better at lower tightness. Looking at possible lowering mine slightly more into resonator for little better sound. There are some old videos of Earl with flange deep in the resonator more then normal, but there can be too little of a gap to effect in a negative way as well.
At an open stage this year, a lady came in with a plectrum. It looked like a 1.5" gap. It was a custom banjo, none of us had ever seen anything like it. But the SOUND. It was the loudest banjo any of us had ever heard. She knew how to play. I think it was built to play in bars. We think she's from Prescott, but we never saw her again, Next time, I'll ask if I can take some pictures to share here.
At an open stage this year, a lady came in with a plectrum. It looked like a 1.5" gap. It was a custom banjo, none of us had ever seen anything like it. But the SOUND.
It was the loudest banjo any of us had ever heard. She knew how to play. I think it was built to play in bars. We think she's from Prescott, but we never saw her again, Next time, I'll ask if I can take some pictures to share here.
Was it a vegavox? They have deep resonators and a quirk where the resonator gap increases as you tighten the head. Crown height can be important on these.